In this series we have previously talked about a good System of Record, plus the entire Vendor Management lifecycle from need to approval to renewal/termination. In this post we’ll dig into the first half of the vendor management lifecycle: Vendor requests and approvals.
This is part in a series about Vendor Management:
- 1. What is Vendor Management?
- 2. What is the Vendor Management Process
- 3. Requests and Approvals
- 4. Renewals and Terminations
- 5. How Blissfully Helps your Vendor Management Process
A good vendor management process should be exactly that: a process. All of the steps should be written out and documented for both transparency and reuse. By developing a true process around vendor management, mapping out each step distinctly and deliberately, and identifying stakeholders and internal owners, a business ensures that the process is repeatable, auditable, and scalable. We’ve created a Vendor Approval Checklist that you can download and internally. Just fill out the form below:
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Receive a free PDF Checklist for internal use.
Now let’s get into the first half of the process:
Vendor Requests and Approvals
Identifying the Need
Vendor management starts with the business need and all the context surrounding it. A request for a new tool comes with a reason, and identifying the goal that you’re trying to achieve with a particular piece of software or vendor is step one.
You’ll also want to know where the request is coming from. Is it an individual need? A team? A different group? Company-wide? Each of these use cases may require different approval and rollout procedures, depending on your business. An individual request probably doesn’t require much training or rollout, just a detailed conversation with the requestor and a decision on how to solve their problem. A company-wide tool could require extensive training, the development of a hierarchy of users, admins, and owners, and significant updates to internal documentation and processes to reflect the new tool.
Also important to a structured process is understanding and documenting who’s involved in approval: Typically IT and security teams are responsible for making sure vendors meet internal security requirements. Finance and procurement teams are responsible for budgeting, and legal is responsible for reviewing contracts. Once you’ve identified who is involved, you need to develop the actual approval process: breaking it down into a series of repeatable, auditable steps so approvals can be run and checked again and again without friction. Some of these steps might include: reviewing your current vendors, researching competitors, reviewing privacy and security policies, and negotiation of pricing and terms.
Vendor request and approval, the challenge is getting software into the hands of the people who requested it and maybe more. Think about who will be the users, admins, and internal owners of the tools you’re adding. Are there any integrations for this piece of software? Most software doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but can and should be integrated into larger business systems.
The actual rollout might involve training, internal coaching, updated process documentation, and more depending on what tool is being added and what was being used before.By developing these processes and making sure they are documented, clear, and repeatable, you’ll ensure that your business is adopting the right vendors for the right reasons.
Blissfully helps manage all of these processes in a single place, including an auditable trail and a continuously updated SaaS system of record.
Next up, we’ll be discussing the second half of the Vendor Management process: Renewals and terminations.